By Francesca Beltran
American Gospel is the solo project of The Republic of Wolves’ guitarist/singer Gregg Andrew DellaRocca. In addition to writing the entire album and playing most of the instruments, he was also in charge of the production work. Intrigued after our review, we asked the talented man a few questions to find out more…
Tall Tales Vol. 1 has such a wide range of sounds, how would you describe the sound of American Gospel?
I’d say it’s very eclectic or multi genre. I made an early decision to not get pigeonholed into writing one style of music. I didn’t want to limit myself, especially because I’m telling stories, one style or sound just wouldn’t do justice to the range of emotions.
I read you played most of the instruments on the album, is this true? I could hear some saxophone and piano, how long have you been playing and what other instruments did you use in the album?
Yes, I played pretty much all the instruments on the album. But as for the sax or any of the horns, those were friends of mine; John Degen plays sax throughout the album, and Logan Labarbera plays trombone. I did play the piano on all of the songs except for “Forget Not Yet”, that was my manager Ricky Plum. I have a complete list of contributers on my web site http://www.American-Gospel.com.
About the stories in the songs, are any based on real life experiences?
A lot of the stories usually develop around real life experiences. One of the more literal and easier to explain would have to be “The Hanged Man”. It’s about a tarot card reading I had while visiting some friends in Ohio. I received The Hanged Man card more than once, and that combined with a coincidental spot on palm reading, laid the foundation for the song.
I got a really melancholic/hopeful feeling from the album. Is that juxtaposition of feelings the reaction you were aiming for?
I tried to include a wide variety of emotions on the album. But I would have to agree, when you reach the end a feeling of sadness and hope seems to resonate.
How was it for you the whole “do it yourself” process and experience? (From the writing, to the production, to the artwork)
It’s how I’ve always done things. I wouldn’t do it any other way, even if I was given the option. I like having complete control and not having to worry about a studio clock. Writing an album is like writing a book, it takes time to develop. Everything has to be cohesive, from track flow to song dynamics. The art needs to reflect the overall feeling the album gives you, in the end for me it’s a visual representation of the journey your about to embark on. I love the process, it’s an enormous amount of work but when you reach that 80% mark, and it’s all coming together, for me there’s no better feeling.
How do The Republic of Wolves have an influence on American Gospel’s sound?
Working with all of the members of TROW over the past 3 years has made me a much better writer. Mason in particular has influenced me probably the most, he is one of the best song writers I have ever worked with.
What’s going to happen with your involvement in The Republic of Wolves now that American Gospel has made a debut?
It probably wont change much. For the most part TROW has been primarily a recording project, and we play an occasional show here and there. But the other members are all very focused on school as well as their other projects. Maybe one day all the projects will tour together, but for now we’re all just doing what we can.
How long have you been doing music? Is this your life career or a pastime?
I’ve been playing music for about 11 years. I’d like to make it my career, I guess well see where this release takes me.
Is there going to be a Tall Tales Vol. 2? Like a sequel? If so, is it going to keep a similar feel as Vol. 1?
Tall Tales Vol.1 is an overview of a few different stories. I think i’d like to expand on those stories more directly before I do the next Tall Tales album, but eventually it will happen.
Where can we catch you live and what is next for American Gospel?
As of right now I’m trying to put a live band together, but it’s been very difficult. I will be sure to let everyone know as soon as I can get this this thing on the road.
Tall Tales Vol. 1will be released on May 15th and will be available for physical purchase, as well as digitally on iTunes and BandCamp. It can also be pre-ordered online through http://www.American-Gospel.com. The CD comes with two bonus alternative versions and the first 80 pre-orders will receive hand written lyrics.